Tuesday, April 21, 2009

South Fire District Votes On Budget April 28

From Edward Creem:

Voters in Middletown's South Fire District will go to the polls on Tuesday, April 28th to vote on a 3.86 million dollar budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. While spending is up slightly over the current budget, the mil rate for the coming fiscal year will actually go down from the current 3.381 to 3.377.

The only significant change in the budget is in the area of personnel. In an effort to address an on-going issue of overtime needed just to maintain minimum staffing, the Board of Fire Commissioners has proposed hiring three additional firefighters. This will result in an additional firefighter on each platoon, allowing for one firefighter per platoon to be off for training, illness, workers compensation or vacation without having to hire a firefighter on overtime to meet the minimum staffing requirement. For reasons of public and firefighter safety and to comply with the firefighters contract, South Fire District currently staffs each platoon with a minimum of 6 personnel.

The proposed reduction in overtime costs combined with a reorganization of the District Tax Office and a give-back from the firefighters union has resulted in a 3.81 percent decrease on the Salary line of the proposed budget when compared with the current budget. The firefighters, through their local of the International Association of Fire Fighters have agreed to give up their cost of living pay increases in the coming fiscal year and have agreed to attend certain additional training on their own time.

A summary of the proposed South Fire District Budget is available on the South Fire District web site at www.southfiredistrict.com. Voting on the budget will take place on Tuesday, April 28th from 6 am to 8 pm at the firehouse located at 445 Randolph Rd.

Fire protection in the City of Middletown is not part of the City's General Fund Budget. Therefore the City is served by three Fire Districts, Middletown, South District and Westfield with each district having its own separate budget and tax rate. South Fire District covers everything south of Route 17 Connector to the Durham and Haddam Town lines and from the east side of South Main Street to the Connecticut River.


Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the men and women of the South District Fire. Their service and dedication is a tremendous value to the residents of the South Farms area of Middletown. However during these time when governments are (or should be) examining the way they conduct the daily business of town management. Is there a better way to organize a Fire Company then to have separate tax districts to pay for the fire services? Just for starters does the City of Middletown need 2 “Fire Chiefs”? Is there unnecessary redundancy within the organizational flow chart of the two departments? Would the city be better served by one department with one house on Main St, one on Cross St, and one on Randolph Rd. One department that can maximize resources without a reduction of serves? Until we have the debates and it is proven to me that it financially wiser for a separate fire tax district, I can not support the budget. Just think about the basics, we receive two tax bills from two different tax offices that are staffed. We have to send two separate checks to meet our tax obligation. There must be a better way.

Anonymous said...

I agree - it is time for a city wide study on merging the three fire depts. into a single fluid unit.

Anthony R. Lancia, Jr said...

With that said, I would support the need for the knowledge of a study to prove the cost of running these services. I feel confident that the outcome will be that it is cheaper as it stands, if you think that the Central District which is governed by the Common Council and the budget is voted up or down amongst them will lower your taxes then you must live in a bubble, cost of living has been on the rise for as many years that I have been alive (47) this is a natural progression, one that no one really cares to support but in essence is a reallity of life.
Prudent spending is always in our best interest wether at home or within our govenment, but let me assure you of this, as a lifelong resident of the South Farms dating back to early 1900 for our family, that you have much more say and control of how your tax dollars are spent as well the right to vote, unlike the Central District.
Everyones opinion counts and should be heard but bring something productive and mostly realistic to the table when you speak out, take into consideration the employees of the South Fire District and don't let your anger or jealousy cloud you judgement or potentialy good ideas for tax savings for the residents of the District.
There are NO SMOKE AND MIRRORS as some may think but rather an open forum for the taxpayers to hear and respond to, just because the majority does not support your feelings does not mean they are not heard and continually assessed.

Anonymous said...

I believe a study of this nature was performed a few years ago and it did indeed recommend a restructuring of the fire departments within Middletown to eliminate redundancies and reduce costs, one Fire Chief, etc... The report was never published or made available to the public from what I understand. It was buried.

Anthony said...

Dear Anonymous,
I do believe if such a study was completed and was funded by tax dollars that it would fall under FOIA Statute and it should be made available.
You should seek out the facts and report back and not hide behind anonimity.